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80% of Africans Lack Affordable Housing ― Minister

By Adaobi Rhema Oguejiofor

In order to address Africa’s growing housing affordability crisis, which affects about 80 per cent of the continent’s population, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, has called for the adoption of innovative housing finance solutions.

Dangiwa stated this while speaking during a ministerial roundtable with the theme “Innovative Financing for Housing Affordability” on the second day of the 43rd Shelter Afrique Development at the Marriott Hotel, in Kigali, Rwanda.

In a statement signed by the minister’s Special Assistant on Media and Strategy, Mark Chieshe, he said that the discussion is important, given the macroeconomic challenges and rising inflationary trends, which have impacted incomes and raised the bar on the matter of housing affordability. He also highlighted Africa’s housing deficit and the housing affordability crisis, which is currently affecting over 80 per cent of the African population.

Dangiwa emphasized on the crucial necessity for affordable housing solutions aimed at low and medium-income households, who were most impacted by economic pressures. In his words, “many households that could afford housing a year ago can no longer do so because of the rising cost of building materials and static incomes. I am worried about this because I believe that for us to make an impact, we must find ways to design, build, and facilitate the delivery of affordable houses targeting the 80 percent of the low and medium income percentile of our population.”

“These factors make it increasingly difficult for our citizens to afford decent and quality housing and with each passing year, the affordability bar keeps getting higher,” he noted.

The Minister, drawing on his experience as the former Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, shared successful initiatives implemented in Nigeria. According to him, these initiatives include utilizing government funds to lower housing costs, engaging sub-national governments to provide land free of charge, and creating expandable housing units that can grow with homeowners’ needs and financial capacity.

Dangiwa also highlighted the role of public-private partnerships (PPP) in facilitating collaborations with reputable developers to build affordable homes, incorporating cross-subsidy models to offer some units at subsidized rates.

He further stated that efforts are underway to establish a N1 trillion concessional financing window for developers and leverage pension funds to provide single-digit mortgage loans as key strategies,  in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance; stressing the necessity of shifting traditional financing models towards more innovative solutions tailored to Africa’s unique contexts.

The Minister observed that the solutions include empowering low-income families with manageable loans for home improvements, unlocking capital markets to inject liquidity into the housing sector, and expanding access to credit, savings, and insurance through digital financial services, especially in underserved communities.

He also acknowledged the potential of private sector-led solutions, such as the Shelter Afrique Housing Solutions Fund. According to him, in order to move forward, there must be a shift in thinking and approach. A multi-dimensional strategy to solve the problem must be developed.

At the event, which brought together ministers, delegates, and private sector stakeholders to explore new approaches to alleviate the continent’s housing challenges, Dangiwa called on all stakeholders, including governments, financial institutions, developers, community organizations, and international partners, to collaborate and share best practices.

He emphasized the importance of robust policy frameworks, effective regulatory environments, and transparent governance to create a housing finance ecosystem that leaves no one behind.

The Minister also expressed optimism that innovative financing strategies, coupled with collaborative efforts, could transform the future of housing in Africa, ensuring hope, opportunity, and prosperity for all.

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